Since the dawn of motoring, the most sought-after, most desirable cars have generally been short-wheelbase, big-engined open-top automobiles. Think Duesenberg speedsters. Think Ferrari 250 Spyders. Think Hemi ’Cuda ragtops.

If it looks outrageous, goes fast, and lets the wind in, historically, people have seemed to want it.

This fundamental truth is something David Blake heard his father say to a car collector friend once, Blake explains in the recently released In Search of the Holy Grail, a catalogue of Hemi convertibles.

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It might just have helped inspire his long-time love for ragtop Mopar big-blocks.

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Blake had five of his on display at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) in Chicago last weekend. And they were in good company.

MCACN organizer Bob Ashton had gathered together a total 27 Hemi-powered E-bodies for the show, a number that seems all the more impressive when you realize Chrysler made just 42 Dodge Challenger and Plymouth ’Cuda Hemi ’verts in 1970 and 1971, and the prior largest gathering was of nine of them.

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Not into Mopars? MCACN had plenty of Corvettes, loads of Pontiacs and more than a few Mustangs, too. It’s also probably one of the biggest gatherings of unrestored/survivor or restored-to-OE-spec muscle cars anywhere.

We’ve got highlight reels of the muscle cars from each manufacturer over at Autofocus – click here for Mopar, here for Ford, and here for GM – and also an overall best-of gallery. And you can expect a lot more on one particular Hemi ’Cuda soon.